Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Solitary Reaper






BEHOLD her, single in the field,
 
  Yon solitary Highland Lass! 
Reaping and singing by herself; 
  Stop here, or gently pass! 
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,         
And sings a melancholy strain; 
O listen! for the Vale profound 
Is overflowing with the sound. 
 
No Nightingale did ever chaunt 
  More welcome notes to weary bands  
Of travellers in some shady haunt, 
  Among Arabian sands: 
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard 
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird, 
Breaking the silence of the seas  
Among the farthest Hebrides. 
 
Will no one tell me what she sings?— 
  Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow 
For old, unhappy, far-off things, 
  And battles long ago:  
Or is it some more humble lay, 
Familiar matter of to-day? 
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain, 
That has been, and may be again? 
 
Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang  
  As if her song could have no ending; 
I saw her singing at her work, 
  And o'er the sickle bending;— 
I listen'd, motionless and still; 
And, as I mounted up the hill,  
The music in my heart I bore, 
Long after it was heard no more.

-William Wordsworth

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